Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Work and Holidays

I have little sympathy for the retail employees who have to work Thanksgiving. I think it's stupid that we have come to a point of consumerism that we need stores open 365 days a year. I have no sympathy because I've worked in industries that don't have holidays, several in fact. Be thankful you have a job, remind people who come to your store on Thanksgiving that you're missing time with your family (make 'em feel guilty as hell), and suck it up -- you aren't alone!

*Agriculture - Animals need food, plants need water, and animals that produce milk don't take days off, ask any lactating mother.

EMS - Someone will call 911. Actually, several people and at least 3 of them will be real medical emergencies!

Fire - Turkey fryers...need I say more?

*Hospital (health care)- That 911 call needs to go somewhere!

*Hotel & Hospitality - Grandma sold the house last year and bought a condo, we can't all sleep there!

Industry - I know for a fact that IBM has plants that are working on Thanksgiving. (And they charge their employees a vacation day for Christmas.)

Military - You don't have to like it but it's true. Remember, you know can go home when you're shift is done but will they be able to?

Police - There's an Uncle Ralph out there that's going to drink too much and pick a fight with the neighbor's hedge.

Restaurants - Not everyone cooks...and there's Chinese Turkey. ;-)

Town/State Road Crews - For those of us that live north of Nowhere and 3 feet of snow by Thanksgiving isn't unheard of.

Yes, this is a light hearted (and obviously seasonally referenced) look at who will be working this holiday. However, these businesses/industries ARE open. Most of them 24/7/365 without regard to holidays, birthdays, seasons, or even tragedy.

The stars * are industries I have worked or currently work in.

Hospitality I worked in for 10 or so years from the time I was 16  until my son was born. There are many New England ski areas that are open, at least partially, by Thanksgiving and many MANY people celebrate it on the slopes.

Hospital (health care) I am currently employed in health care. I manage a primary care physician's office. It is the first time in many years that I am employed and NOT working during the holiday. I did spend 3 1/2 years working in a hospital and worked my share of holidays.

Agriculture is the closest to home, litterally. My father and 2 of his brothers run a dairy farm. My brother, sister, and I were raised ON the farm. Our holiday schedules are around milking times! We have Thanksgiving and Christmas "dinner" at about 1pm, between the milkings which are 3am & 3pm.

Bad blogger, bad!

I know, I'm a terrible blogger. Before you drop me like a hot potato please understand:

1- I'm a single mother
2- I'm managing a brand new medical office
3- I'm on the last semester of my Master's degree which is a research project and paper that must be done with a medical organization.

I'm busy.

After December 15th, however, I will not be so busy and will be able to dedicate more time to the blog.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Magickal Thursday: October 17th, 2013

1 Wand
1 Cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set of glass or crystal phials
1 telescope
1 set of brass scales
Students may also bring an owl or a cat or a toad
(List of "Other Equipment" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowlings)

I have met very few witches who didn't wish that the world of Harry Potter was true! Unfortunately, it isn't. We don't get a nice little list of textbooks and supplies. The real practice of magick doesn't need any tools, just you, but having a tool can help a practitioner focus their energy.

If you're practicing any kind of magick and are using tools those tools should be used JUST for magick. Tools that go back and forth can build up energy that you may not want if you're trying to do a healing spell. Magickal tools should be kept separate and, again, used only for magick.

Below you'll find a list of common tools and their uses.

Athame--a knife
The Athame represents either air or fire depending on your personal preference or education. It is used for cutting objects for both physical objects, like cords, or energies.

Candles & holder(s)
Candle holders can be used in day to day life, candles, however, cannot be. Once a candle is charged and used for something it cannot be reused. Healing candles can only be used for healing. Protection candles for protection. Being a magickal object, candles should not be just thrown into the trash. To dispose of any magickal "waste" it should be gathered into a box and buried or, preferably, burned.

Chalice/Bowl
The chalice or bowl is the representation of water due to the fact that it is the container for water.

Incense & burner
These are the tools that can be used in day to day life.

Alter Cloth
Helpful when you have a multi-purpose space. Placing the alter cloth represents the "working" space while removing it represents the "mundane" space.

Wand/Staff
Wands and/or staffs can represent air or fire depending on your personal preference and education. It can be used for directing and cutting energy.

Book of Shadows
It's a fancy name for a notebook to keep your work in.

Other tools that can be used are: Oils, Herbs, Divination tool(s) (tarot, runes, scying mirror), gemstones, and salt.

Practical Tuesday: October 15th, 2013


Over the last couple of weeks I've decided that I REALLY wish my brain came with a pre-installed shut off switch. Spending several nights a week tossing and turning, waking up at ungodly hours, and just generally missing out on one of my favorite past-times has taken its toll.

Besides the obvious side effects of puffy eyes, slower reflexes, lower concentration levels, and general grumpiness, chronic lack of sleep can cause and or exacerbate medical conditions. While there is no magick number for how many hours of sleep each individual should get each night, here are some good numbers to go by:

90 - the number of minutes it takes to complete one sleep cycle
4-6 - the number of sleep cycles you should have a night
8.5-10 - the number of hours a teen should be sleeping each night
7.5 - 9 - the number of hours an adult should be sleeping each night

Don't think chronic lack of sleep is all that bad? Consider this, not getting enough sleep, besides the things listed above, can increase the risk of:

Obesity - It might not JUST be our love of fast food that's making American's gain!
Heart disease - Which, of course, lead to:
Heart attack - and
Heart failure - because who needs a heart anyway? *sarcasm*
Irregular heartbeat
High blood pressure
Stroke
Diabetes

*Look, it's a laundry list of common and rising US ailments! All this time they're trying to sell us drugs when all we need is to go to bed earlier! (I am not recommending you go against your doctor's directions!!!)

So who do you help improve your sleep?

Keep things dark - Melatonin, a chemical made by your body to help you sleep is only created when it's dark. Melatonin supplements can be purchased over the counter (check with your doctor or pharmacist for drug interactions). The supplements have a cumulative effect so the more you take them the better they work, meaning you should take them everyday for best results.

Put away the toys - Electronics, big or small, give off electromagnetic energy which disturbs your own energy patterns. You don't need to leave your cell phone on beside the bed...no, really you don't. If you're concerned about receiving a call in the night leaving it across the room on your dresser.

Limit activities in the bedroom to bedroom activities - This means no TV, no video games, no exercise equipment, etc. "But the TV helps me sleep!" Doubtful (see Put away the toys), it's more likely that the noise is helping you fall asleep and you can get the same effect from a fan or soft music (located across the room away from the bed). Remember, in order to make melatonin your body needs it dark! The light from the TV is not going to help this!!!

Have a routine - Get into the habit of giving your body cues that it's time for sleep. We do it for our kids: tubby time, a bedtime story, some snuggles. All these things tell our mind it's time to shut down. So set up your own routine: do the dishes, brush your teeth, read a book in bed (the book must be for pleasure not work!).

Write it down - If some thought keeps you up or wakes you up try not to dwell on it (easier said than done, I know). Keep a notebook and book light beside your bed. When some thought is bothering you write it down. The book light isn't bright enough to make your eyes dilate in that "OMG my eyes are going to burn out of their sockets" kinda way but will give you enough light to write.

Good night and sweet dreams.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Changing Seasons

Fall has arrived in full force this week. Up here in the Northeast Kingdom our foliage peaked a couple of weekends ago. The leaf peepers are out and driving erratically, though slowly, down all our secondary roads, parking in the travel lanes instead of pulling off onto our narrow shoulders.

The cooler weather brings about changes in my patterns. I prepare for my winter hibernation. While I don't actually sleep through the winter, I do slow down, sleep longer hours, and become rather introverted.

This is the time I start working on my journals, crafts, and other projects. While the spring and summer months I spend most of my time outside, during the late fall and winter I spend mostly inside. As the nights are getting cooler I'm feeling my creative side turning on. I want to paint, write, or sew.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Practical Tuesday: October 8th, 2013

Here we are, into the second week of October and I'm just getting around to posting. I'd hang my head in shame but it's already hanging from exhaustion.

I've been "employed" since the end of June as the Office Manager/Administrator/Receptionist/... by a doctor I've known for 20 years. We've been spending the last 3 months just trying to get things in order so he could open his own primary care practice. During this time I've been working my own hours, whatever days I wanted unless otherwise requested. (Why I wrote it as "employed".)

Over the last two weeks, however, we've become a "real" doctors office. We see patients daily. The phone rings off the hook. I'm still trying to get insurances all in order. I'm working from 8am to as late as 6pm then going home and doing the single Mom thing too!

To top it all my final course for my Master's degree started yesterday.

Yes, I am nuts!

How do I do it all? Multi-tasking, self-discipline, scheduling, and early bedtimes.

While sitting on hold with one insurance company or another I can check my on-line classroom, read a few lines from my textbook, or brainstorm ideas. While my son works on his homework at the table, I fix dinner, do dishes, and help him. We have an hour of downtime where we play with our pets (a cat and a dog), watch some TV or play a game. Then he's off to bed and I spend an hour or two doing homework, laundry, working on this blog, working on Pagan educational activities for the boy so I can introduce him to my beliefs.

I try to be in bed between 9 and 10 and I read for another hour or so. My books of choice...cotton candy. You know the ones, all fluff and no nutritional value for your mind. By the time I go to bed I'm suffering from brain fry so I want something that's going to make me feel warm and fuzzy without making me think too hard.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Magickal Thursday: Mabon Celebration

Though the holiday of Mabon was "officially" on Sunday, I am celebrating it today. A dear friend and I are going to take some time out of our busy schedules and honor the harvest.

Below you will find a copy of the ritual we are doing. I will be the first to admit that I was lacking in creativity and used bits and pieces of other rituals posted online to make my own. I have modified most of the wording to better fit what we were doing.

I hope everyone had a blessed Mabon and is enjoying the fall. For my friends in the southern hemisphere, I hope you had a blessed Ostara and are enjoying your spring!

My friend Cathy & I enjoying Boston in the Fall of 2009.

Mabon Ritual 2013:

One candle to represent each: N,S,E,W
Incense: Sandalwood, Sage
Goddess Candle
God Candle
Three lists: grateful for, want to gather, want to release
Fire safe container

Cast the circle:
We gather tonight by the light of the moon,
to celebrate the season, and rejoice.
May the next turn of the Wheel bring us love
and compassion, abundance and prosperity,
fertility and life.
As the moon above, so the earth below.

Call the Corners:
Hail to the East and the guardians of beginnings. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Hail to the South and the guardians of transformation. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon

Hail to the West and the guardians of healing. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Hail to the North and the guardians of growth. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Honor the Lord & Lady:
We honor Thee, Autumn Queen, and Thy consort, the Lord of the Harvest.
The Wheel has once more turned, and the change of season begins.
The Equinox is upon us, and the time to reflect, at hand.
All time comes together, here and now in this sacred space.
And we, but a moment in time, feel the change as we pass from one season to the next.


Ritual:
Reflect on the things you are grateful for:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we give thanks for the blessings you have bestowed upon us.

Light paper.

Reflect on the things you would like to gather:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we ask for your guidance as begin our work to gather these things to us.

Light paper.

Reflect on the things you would like to release:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we release to you all that holds us back, that we have outgrown, and that  has nothing left to teach us.

Light paper.

Give thanks to the Lord & Lady:

What will be is. What was will be.
The Second Harvest has been reaped, and the time of rest is deserved.
Go now My Mother and slumber.
Go now My Father and dream of re-birth.
I shall be here to greet Thee on Your return.

Release the corners:
We give thanks to the North. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the West. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the South. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the East. Go if you must, stay if you will.

Open the Circle:


Between the worlds we stand in this sacred place.
All time is here and now.
As we leave this circle, the season shall have changed,
And we will have changed with it.
May we use the short time of Winter Finding
To draw the strength and power from within
As we quest for vision, understanding, and peace.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Practical Tuesday: Magickal Meditation - Home in your mind

For my students I often have them create a safe space "in their mind". During meditation create a space, a home if you will. One student has a thatched cottage in a forest. I have a stone manor on a sea cliff. Draw it if your creative. Make it yours. Put your totem and/or spirit animals in the space. Do landscaping, or not.

Within your space create a location where you can store unwanted, unneeded, or outdated thoughts, stress, or any other things that you want to carry in your day to day life. The location should be able to be covered. In my space I have a box located in the rocks along the beach. My student has a covered well at the edge of her forest.

Nothing in this space is lost but rather stored for later. You can access it at any time by simply going back and looking at it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Elements: Earth

Analysis: foreign contaminant. Substance is a three phase system composed of various combinations of naturally derived solids. Subject is most commonly referred to as "soil", "dirt", or "earth" ((From Disney/Pixar's Wall-E, 2008) 

Yes, I'm a Pixar geek but admit it, it is a pretty good opening for Earth! 

For most magickal people, North is the direction of Earth, though, like South, our friends in the southern hemisphere have every right to swap these. Greek mythology the North wind is called Boreas. I bet you thought the Aurora Borealis was just a fancy name! It's colors are that of the earth itself: multiple shades of browns, the green of growing things. It's magickal tools are the crystals and gemstones, pentacles and pentagrams, and salt. 
There is a reason people put those little gnome statues in their gardens. Gnomes are the elemental of Earth. Unlike their cousins the Slyphs, Gnomes are dedicated and loyal. I bought a 120 year old home several years ago and inherited a Brownie (aka a house Gnome). My plants never looked better, well, until the cat, dog, and child had at them. 
The animals of earth are large, maternal land mamals: cow, horse, bison, deer. 
When it comes to magick, Earth is used for: growth, fertility, money, grounding, empathy, prosperity, wisdom, teaching.
Assignment: Get to know Earth!
Gardening is an excellent way to commune with Earth. Spending time up to your elbows in growing things! *sigh* Sculpting is another. Clay is just another form of earth after all. I spent a great deal of time in pottery classes during my college years. It helped me to ground and heal. 
Money magick is centered around Earth. Why? Because from fertile earth things grow and what is the best way to make more of something? Get it to grow! I always keep my pocket change in a brown ceramic bowl. When the bowl gets full I roll the change and deposit it or give it to my son but I never empty the bowl. The bowl becomes a symbol of your bank account and it is never empty.

The Elements: Water

Ah, water! My astrological symbol is the Pisces, the fish, and I have a strong affinity to water. It ebbs and flows. It is strongly effected by the moon. It can be calm and gentle one minute and a raging storm the next. It can be a solid, liquid, or gas!


For most magickal people, West is the direction of Water. The ending of the sun's journey across the sky. It is often the direction of the land of the dead. In ancient Egyptian culture, the west bank of the Nile was where all the burials happened. In Greek mythology the West wind is called Zephyrus. It's colors are that of the sea: ranging from bright blue to purple-black, teals, and blue-greens. It's magickal tools are the cup, cauldron, goblet, and reflective surfaces like mirrors. 

The Undine is the elemental of Water and are also called Nymphs and Mermaids. Nymphs, Mermaids, and Undines are associated with an ethereal beauty that drove men mad with want and women jealous with envy. They have many of the personality qualities that water has calm and gentle then raging then back to calm.

Water is, of course, associated with the animals of water, specifically fish and dolphins but also serpents. Serpents, in this case, mean both water loving snakes and the mythological sea monsters.

When it comes to magick, Water is used for: love, intuition, female fertility, spirit communication, purification, pleasure, friendship, marriage, sleep & dreams, security, and journeys. 

Assignment: Get to know Water!

Water is one of those elements we take for granted because it is such a part of our daily life. Think about it though: we're 60% water; only 2% of the water on earth is fresh water, the other 98% is salt water; the average American uses 176 gallons of water a day! (Retrieved from: 
http://www.waterinfo.org/resources/water-facts) Spend a day, an hour, being conscious of your water use. 

Water is one of my favorite elements to work with. Granted, there is a bit of bias there being a fish and all. It can be used to wash away your problems: write your problems on paper (preferably natural and easily biodegradable) and send it down a stream or river; wave good-bye.  

The Elements: Fire

(I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I've been sick since Saturday morning.)

What is it about sitting around a fire with friends? Is it some part of our ancient DNA? 

For most magickal people, South is the direction of Fire, though for our friends on the southern side of the equator I can completely understand swapping north and south. In Greek mythology the South wind is called Notus. It's colors are that of fire: red and orange. (Yes, fire can be blue and white too!) It's magickal tools are the censer, candles, and athame (ceremonial knife/dagger)

The elemental of fire is the Salamander. Of the four elementals this is the only one that closely resembles a creature from this plain of existence. I often think of the elemental Salamander as, well, for lack of a better term a pocket dragon. Let's be honest though, who would really want to keep a fire breathing dragon in their pocket? Salamanders live in the heart of a fire and are, like all elementals, the personification of fire. 

Animals of fire are those that are aggressive and/or passionate (in a metaphorical sense anyway). Traditionally the snake and lion are connected to fire. There are two non-traditional creatures that are, let's face it, almost more the embodiment of fire than the Salamander: dragons and phoenix.  

When it comes to magick, Air is used for: change, sight, learning, love & passion, sexuality, creativity, transformation, protection, and courage. Fire can also be used for healing. To some extent all the elements could be used in healing in one form or another but more about that later.

Assignment: Get to know Fire!

Spend some time sitting in front of a fire, a candle will work. Feel the energy, the heat, coming from the flame. Watch how it transforms it's fuel into something new. 

Fire is often called upon to "spice" up a relationship. (wink) However, I'd rather touch on the protection aspect of fire. You've been practicing your shielding, right? To start the easiest thing to do is imagine yourself in a soap-type bubble. Let's change it up and make it a ball of flame!

A word of caution though, your shield is how people will perceive you before you ever talk to them. A raging ball of flame may make others feel like your hostile and/or out of control. On the other hand, a gentle flame, like a candle, will be more likely to make people feel warm and welcome but come too close and you might get burned. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13th: Friday the 13th

Paraskevidekatriaphobia: the fear of Friday the 13th.

I've always been a fan of Friday the 13th but I know many who are not. I honor of the day I thought I'd share this excellent article by David Emery, Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky: Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Friday the 13th Origins, History, and Folklore. 

http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm




References:

 http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/buzzword/entries/paraskevidekatriaphobia.html


http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/12/221769298/frightened-by-friday-the-13th-say-paraskevidekatriaphobia

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mabon


A.K.A. Autumn Equinox, The Fall Sabbat, Alban Elfed, and the Second Harvest Festival. Celebrated on the first day of fall. It is a time of thanks for all that we have gained over the previous year. The time is perfect for balancing rituals and spells. The Goddess is in a combination Mother/Hag form and the God nears the end of his "life."

Traditional Colors: orange, dark red, yellow, indigo, brown
Traditional Herbs: acorns, asters, benzoin, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, Solomon's seal, thistle
Traditional Incense: benzoin, myrrh, sage
Traditional Gemstones: carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate
Traditional Foods: corn, wheat, breads, nuts, vegetables, apples, roots (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.), cider, pomegranates

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 13th: Feast Day Juno, Minerva, & Nephthys

Juno is the queen of the Roman pantheon. Wife of Jupiter, protector of women, and matriarch of Rome. Juno is an excellent goddess to call upon when you're looking for a little extra protection from a mother figure. She's not the cuddly tells you stories and rocks you to sleep kind of mother, she's the "I'm  kicking this bully's a$$" kind of mother. Her protection is best when used by woman.
For more information on Juno: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(mythology)

Minerva is the Roman and Etruscan goddess of wisdom, arts, trade, and defense. If you're starting a business Minerva would be an excellent deity to call upon. Having an art show or theater performance soon? Ask for Minerva's blessing.
For more information on Minerva: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/roman-mythology.php?deity=MINERVA

Nephthys is the Egyptian goddess of death. She comforts the living and guides the dead to the afterlife. If you need comfort from someones passing or want their journey to the afterlife to be eased, call on Nephthys. She is also an excellent deity to call upon when you are looking to end something: a lease, a relationship, a job.
http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/egyptian-mythology.php?deity=NEPHTHYS

The Elements: Air


Air, the breeze that blows across your face and dances in your hair. We have all, at one time or another, lifted our faces to the breeze and couldn't help but smile. 

For most magickal people, East is the direction of Air. The beginning of the sun's journey across the sky. In Greek mythology the East wind is called Eurus. It's colors are that of a bright sunny sky: yellow and blue. It's magickal tools are the censer and wand. 

Each element has an Elemental, a personification of the element. The elementals of Air are Slyphs. (Think Fairy) Slyphs create the clouds, form snowflakes, and help plants grow. Slyphs are also highly intelligent and can be tricky and/or deceptive. Use caution when working with Slyphs. 

Each element also rules certain types of animals. In the case of Air it is animals that fly or use air to get around: birds, flying insects, and spiders. Yes, young spiders spin a kind of parachute that allows them to float from one place to another. 

When it comes to magick, Air is used for: intuitive and psychic work, knowledge/learning, inspiration, hearing, travel, freedom, revealing truth and lost things, beginnings. 

Assignment: Get to know Air!

Spend some time standing (or sitting) in the wind with your eyes closed. Listen to it as it blows through the trees. Watch the leaves dance or a bird play in the wind. 

Air can be used to help you focus so anyone who is a student, in the process or learning, or in a situation where you need to have 100% of your attention on a subject, call upon air to help you. Planning a trip? Call upon air to help with "smooth sailing". I regularly use air to help me find lost items. 



Introduction to the Elements

Over the next couple of weeks I'm really going to focus on some of the more basic aspects of Paganism, the elements. With the Autumnal Equinox, also called Mabon from the Celtic tradition, just around the corner I felt it was time to really start focusing on the Elements. I follow the European tradition of the elements though I am aware of the Taoist version due to my Reiki training. I have included some of the eastern traditions for reference.

At the same time we need to touch on a symbol. For many it is THE symbol of their religion, like a Christian cross or the Jewish Star of David. For others it is the symbol of ultimate evil. I am not here to tell you what to believe, I am here to tell you what I believe and I believe in the former rather than the latter. What I am talking about is, of course, the five pointed star, the pentacle. When enclosed in a circle it becomes the pentagram. They symbol represents the elements that create life (the star) and the continuation of that life (the circle).

In European paganism there are 5 elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. The four elements correlate to a compass directions while the 5th, Spirit is everywhere and no where.

In Japan the 5 elements are: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. They do not traditionally correlate to a direction but rather a type of energy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_elements_(Japanese_philosophy)

In Hinduism and Buddhism there are 5 - 6 elements: The 4 main elements of Earth, Water/Liquid, Fire, Air/Wind and the two "lesser" elements: Space and Consciousness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81bh%C5%ABta

In Chinese culture and Taoism the 5 elements are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. There are two cycles within this group of elements: growth and destruction, which can be seen in the image below. This set of elements is seen as the seasons: wood=spring, fire=summer, metal=autumn, and water=winter. Earth represents the transitional time between seasons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Festival of Jupiter September 5th - 13th

Jupiter, the king of the Roman pantheon, is having his festival over the next seven days!

Stay tuned for more information.

Learn more about Jupiter: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/roman-mythology.php?deity=JUPITER

September 5th Feast Day: Ganesh

Ganesh is the Hindu elephant-god of luck and prosperity.

In need of some luck? Now's a good time to ask!

Learn more about Ganesh: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/indian-mythology.php?deity=GANESHA

Magickal Thursday: Cleansing

We've looked at sacred space. We've "played" with energy. Now let's start focusing that energy a little.

While anyone who has come to my house will tell you, it is always FAR from spotless. What they will tell you is that they do feel welcome, comfortable, and relaxed. Part of it is due to the fact that my house doesn't look like a museum. Put your feet on the coffee table, lay out on the couch, raid the fridge!

The other part of it, and the more important one, is that while their's dog and cat hair on the floors the energy in the house is clean. The technique of cleansing a space is one that is old as time and relatively easy to do. My son started helping me cleanse space at age 5.

Cleansing space serves multiple purposes. It removes stagnant energy from a space. Stagnant energy, like stagnant air, can cause any number of ills some physical (think viruses) and some emotional (think bad juju). Stagnant energy has the ability to influence everything from health to moods.

Energy that has stagnated too long or energy that is left after a negative event can REALLY effect your health and moods, especially your moods. Ever been somewhere that just "felt" bad. You felt uncomfortable or didn't want to be there? Most likely a build up of negative energies.

Finally, ghosts. Yes, ghosts, spirits, whatever you call them. (Once we get into October I will discuss ghosts more.) Just as in life, some spirits are good and some...not so much. Cleansing can help this as well.

Before we discussing the "how" I want to mention a few things. First, when dealing with spirits I keep in mind that most of them were there long before I was ever born. Beneficial spirits, those that protect or help in other ways, are always, ALWAYS welcome. Neutral spirits, those that neither help nor harm but are just there, aren't hurting anything so they can stay. However, spirits that are their to cause mischief or harm are not welcome.

When doing my ritual I always state clearly that beneficial spirits are welcome to stay but those that are here to cause mischief and harm must leave. My son chants: "In with the good. Out with the bad."

Cleansing

The most common tool used to cleanse a space is a sage smudge. Most people have heard of "smudging". Smudging is simply cleansing with smoke. While sage is the most common it is not the only. Use any incense, resin, or burning herb that you like.

Prepare the space by giving it a good physical cleaning. Then close all the windows and doors except the main door. I suggest starting in the room farthest from the main door. If you have multiple floors work from the top down. Always move counter clockwise around a room start at the door and move around it as best you can until you're back at the door.

As you're moving around the room imagine the smoke going into every corner of the space, every crack and forgotten nook.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Practical Tuesday: (a.k.a.) Virus Sufferers Unite!

So I'm blaming the late post on: 1) the fact that Monday was a holiday and totally screwed up my internal calendar for this week 2) I've been exhausted from staying up way too late with people half my age for several nights in a row and waking up way too early thanks to my seven-year-old and 3) thanks to number 2 I have a end of season virus.

It might still be a little early for this kind of post but then again, people get sick all the time.

Healing is a magickal process. Okay, maybe not in a Mary Poppins' kinda magick but in that science and magick aren't too different kinda way. Roll your eyes at me all you want but this is a process that happens at a cellular level and all you can do is support it the best you can.

When I first graduated from college I worked for a Chiropractor who always congratulated people on their healthy immune system but only when they were sick. Let's face it, a healthy immune system is the one that works not the one that doesn't.

My virus fighting regime has always been: tea tree oil, lemon, ginger, and honey tea, lots of tissues, and sleep. The tea tree oil is a natural anti- fungal, viral, and biotic. During the day while I'm awake I steams (hot water) with tea tree and/or hot compresses on my sinuses and/or chest. At night I add several drops of tea tree oil to my vaporizer and/or humidifier. Being an anti everything it helps to keep the rest of the house from getting ill by killing all the garbage floating around and can be breathed in with little harm.

(Please note that people can be allergic to tea tree oil. Use a small amount initially to test in your home.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Magickal Thursday: Basic Energy Work

One of the first lessons I ever remember having with my teacher was sort of an energy 'game'.

Sit comfortably, place your hands in front of you a couple of inches apart and close your eyes in front of you a couple of inches apart. Direct your energy into your hands and then into the space between. Push it back and fourth from one hand to the other. If it helps, give it the shape of a ball. If you can work with someone else play 'catch' with it, gently pushing it from one person to the other.

Learn the 'personalities' of some objects, a stone, an old watch, your grandmother's quilt. What do you fell when you hold it? Are there any images that come into your mind? You must keep both your mind and heart open, don't dismiss thoughts that you may feel are silly.

So you don't drain yourself every time you work you must learn to draw up the energy of the things around you. One of the best and easiest is the earth itself. Like when grounding, you want to pull the energy up. 
Please remember to return energy that you don't use or need, holding onto it may cause you problems.

Unfortunately, you can't teach someone how to feel the energies in the world around us. Some may never be able to but the more you try to open yourself up to it the better you will become.

Image from the NY Reiki Center

August 29th: Feast Day Hathor & Urda

Hathor is the Egyptian goddess of love. From death yesterday to love today. Go Egypt!

I'm going to be honest, not a fan of love magick. I've done a spell or two in my day and it's given me exactly what I asked for, not what I wanted. So let's skip the "I need someone else to love me" and work on the "I love myself". If you can't love yourself, you can truly love someone else. Let's face it, we ALL need to remember ourselves once in a while.



Urda is one of the three Norse fate goddesses. She represents the past. So while we're working with Hathor to love ourselves, lets ask Urda's assistance to heal some things from our past. Can't hurt, right?

*I know some people do not believe in meshing different families of deities. If you follow one specific tradition and don't want to work with other deities that is TOTALLY fine. I'm eclectic and for the most part work with a generic "Goddess" and "God" image that fits both me and the season. I'm not, however, unashamed to ask for help where ever I can get it!

For more information about Hathor: http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/hathor.htm
For more information about Urda: http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/others/the-norns/

August 28th: Feast Day of Nephthys

Nephthys is the Egyptian goddess of death.

A goddess of death does not mean a goddess of bad. She is a goddess of endings! Is there anything you would like to end or stop? Because the moon is waning (growing smaller) anything you do to end, stop, or decrease something will be extra strong.

Learn more about Nephthys: http://www.touregypt.net/nephthys.htm

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Practical Tuesday: Sacred Space

Having your own space is important whether it's having a quiet space in your own home where you can go to recharge, collect your thoughts, and find peace. It is just as important to have a space where you can do any kind of magick or energy workings.

We're not all lucky enough to have a room to dedicate for this kind of space. Though I do have friends in Southern New Hampshire who have a whole third floor! Granted, they are directors of a Pagan organization so I guess it's ok. ;)

There are many ways to create a sacred space, I'll give you the evolution of mine.

The Space Saver
Sometimes it's not convenient to keep your magickal tools and workings in plain site. Dorm life is a great example. In college I was lucky enough to have roommates who were tolerant of my magickal path if not actively following it themselves. However, dorm rooms are a small shared space. Lucky for me, I received a trunk for a graduation gift. It wasn't huge like the 19th century steamer trunks but it was good size with a nice, flat top. I could keep all my magickal tools inside and use it as a coffee table when not in use.

The Forgotten Corner
Look around your living space. There must be some corner that isn't being used for much. Get a corner shelving unit or corner shelves (if you can install into the wall) that fit your budget and bingo! Instant vertical alter. If you plan on burning things make sure it's on the top shelf or the flame is not high enough to cause damage. You can leave your items out and they become "art pieces".

The "What the...?" Space
When I bought my home 4 years ago there was this space at the top of the second floor stairs. The second floor is in the eves, which means there's a lot of slanted ceilings and short walls. I saw this space becoming either a catch all for crap I didn't want to put away or a dust collector. So, instead, I found a chest of drawers that fit into the space! I can leave tools out, store extras, keep my books, etc. all in one location. There's enough space where I can sit comfortably and meditate or do work.

The Traveler
We can't always work from home, in any aspect of life! So when we're on the road it's good to keep a travel kit with you. It can be as big or small as necessary. A couple of crystals in your pocket or, in my case, a 12" x 6" x 6" box. I live near some Native American healing springs and when I go to visit I tend to do a great deal of work. When traveling far from home, however, I usually just keep a couple of crystals and a stick of incense with me. (Yes, I am one of those weirdo's who smudges their hotel room!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 27th: Festival Day of Consus and Devaki

Consus is the Roman god who protects grains and other stored foods. Today would be a great day to go through your "grain stores", or in the 21st century lingo, the pantry. Check for expired foods, wipe down the shelves, donate foods you don't use. For those of us who live in the colder reaches of the world we need to think about winter and providing for our family. Things aren't as imperative now that we have access to food year round but as little as 100 years ago it was very important to have your stores ready for winter. So instead of having your stores full instead take time to winterize your house.

Wheat, photographer unkown


Devaki is the Hindu mother-goddess. Wife of Vesudeva and mother of Krishna. While everyone has different experiences with their mothers, a mother-goddess is THE mother. She offers protection, unconditional love, and encouragement. Seek out mother-goddesses to help with mommy-issues. If you had or have problems with your mother seeking the guidance of a mother-goddess can help you heal. It won't necessarily improve your situation but it can help you heal.

Learn more about Consus: http://www.mythindex.com/roman-mythology/C/Consus.html

Learn more about Devaki: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Devaki.html

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 26th: Feast Day of Krishna & Ilmatar

Krishna is the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, the supreme god, in Hinduism.
Internet image, photographer unknown



Ilmatar is a Finnish goddess of air. Her literal translation is "female air spirit".
Ilmatar & the Scaup, Helsinki Finland by Aarre Aaltonen 1946

For more information about Krishna visit: http://www.krishna.com/

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23rd: Feast Day of Nemesis, Vertumnus, Vulcan, and the Nymphs

Feast days are days that are special to a specific deity or deities. If you are looking to work with a specific deity or ask favors these are the best days to do them. Most deities have multiple feast days so if you miss one don't worry, there will be another.

Nemesis, was the Greek goddess of fortune and retribution. In Rome she is known as the balancer of life.

Vertumnus is the Roman god of the changing seasons, plant growth, gardens, and fruit trees. (Vertumnal Equinox anyone?)

The Nymphs as the personification of nature. There are many different kinds of Nymphs but most often found in forest groves and springs.

Vulcan Roman good of fire and smithing. Today is his feast day, Vulcanalia.

In honor of Vulcanalia light a fire! It can be as big or as small as you are able. Historically, offerings of small animals were given to Vulcan as a way of keeping fires out of the cities but this is the 21st century. Instead offer some of your harvest, a cutting from a houseplant or a plant from your garden or be creative! Offer Vulcan a sketch, a song, or a poem. Something that can be put on paper and burned.



Learn more about Nemesis: http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Nemesis.html

Learn more about Vertumnus: http://www.maicar.com/GML/Vertumnus.html

Learn more about the Nymphs: http://www.maicar.com/GML/NYMPHS.html

Learn more about Vulcan: http://www.napoliunplugged.com/vulcanalia.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Magickal Thursday: Grounding & Centering

Magick this the ability to manipulate the energies of the earth. For all you geeks and sci-fi lovers out there, think "the force". (Your journey begins young Jedi.) Chuckle all you want! Honestly, minus the really cool Hollywood effects you've got yourself some magick working!

Because we all took Physics (cough, cough) we know that everything in the Universe is made up of atoms (or a vacuum but I digress). Atoms are little balls of stuff that exude energy. (Are we seeing a pattern yet?) What magick workers, heck, anyone who can focus long enough, can do is take all this energy and transform it. Remember Newton and his laws! Energy cannot be created or destroyed only transformed.

(Awe, come on Sue, we didn't want a science lesson!)

The (un)fortunate truth is, metaphysics has a great deal in common with regular physics. For those who thirst for more scientific proof, check out Quantum Theory.

Now back to the magick!

Grounding

When you work with energies you don’t want to store them all inside of yourself, this could cause a whole lot of problems: insomnia and the shakes in the short term; chronic diseases in the long term. Your body may be a battery but it is not designed to handle large amounts of energy for long periods of time, it will fight back. Therefore, we learn how to ground the energies we don’t need, like a grounding rod.

If you do Yoga or any number or eastern practices you may already understand and practice grounding on a regular basis. Excellent! As a practitioner of magick you really want to get into the habit of grounding and centering daily. None of us are perfect! I know I haven't been good about this practice myself but with the kids, the house, work.... We can all make excuses but it really is something we should do. Everyone, not just magickal workers. Here are some simple ways to ground!

The Shower Ground
While standing in the shower stand under the spray and visualize the water washing away all the excess energy; cleaning out your energy center leaving them fresh and recharged. Work from your head to toes. You may find touching the areas as you go makes it easier to focus. An extra 2 minutes in the shower and done!

The Tree
(For the first few times it may be easier to do bare foot and outside in the grass.) With your feet touching the ground, sitting is fine. Visualize that you are a tree, you have roots coming from your feet going deep into the ground. "Feel" the earth as you move through it absorb the different layers of earth, rock, and water. Pull that energy up through your roots, into your legs and torso, through your head where it feeds the branches of your tree. Feel that the sun above you is nourishing and your branches and leaves stretch up high toward it. Pull that energy in and down through your branches, into your "trunk" and down into your roots.

Centering

We've grounded but we still have our own energy to deal with. For some people, exposure to magickal workings can leave them feeling exhausted. Why? Because they haven't centered (stored) their own energies. Centering goes hand in hand with grounding. By storing or locking away your own energy you won't deplete it while doing your magickal workings or get rid of it all when grounding.

To center, draw the energies into your body into your abdominal region, some like the “belly” area, some prefer higher or lower. Or you can store them in one of your chakras if you know were and what they are. Most people chose to center in the “belly” region simply because that could be considered the center of the body. Draw in the energies until you feel full. When I center I usually visualize the energy filling a balloon or beach ball, when the ball is full I stop drawing in the energy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 21st: Feast Day of Hercules

Feast days are days that are special to a specific deity or deities. If you are looking to work with a specific deity or ask favors these are the best days to do them. Most deities have multiple feast days so if you miss one don't worry, there will be another.

Hercules is a Greek demi-god. His father was Zeus and his mother a mortal. He is most famous for completing the Twelve Labors.

Hercules and the Hydra, Antonio del Pollaiuolo


To learn more visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 22nd: Feast Day of Nu Kua

Feast days are days that are special to a specific deity or deities. If you are looking to work with a specific deity or ask favors these are the best days to do them. Most deities have multiple feast days so if you miss one don't worry, there will be another.

Nu Kua is a Chinese goddess of healing. Haven't been feeling well? Light a white candle and ask Nu Kua to aid in your healing.

Nu Kua, Artist Unknown


To learn more visit: http://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/goddess-nu-kua/

An Introduction


Pagans worship nature. It really doesn't matter what form (and there are many) you practice all believe that nature is sacred. We all tend to have a touch of an environmentalist in us, it's stronger in some than others. I would classify myself as a light to moderate environmentalist. You won't hear me preaching, no worries. 

I am an exceptionally eclectic pagan. I studied Alternative Medicine in college which included me receiving a Reiki Master/Teacher certification. My pagan studies have run the gamut of formal Egyptian magick to Native American Shamanism. This being said, my teachings tend to lean heavily toward balance. My rituals not ceremonial and often done on a whim. 





Silver Cascade, Crawford Notch, NH

August 19th: Feast Day Venus & Minerva

Feast days are days that are special to a specific deity or deities. If you are looking to work with a specific deity or ask favors these are the best days to do them. Most deities have multiple feast days so if you miss one don't worry, there will be another.

Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Aphrodite is her Greek counterpart.

Since this is a feast day o f Venus, Goddess of love and beauty, it is an excellent day for love spells (though they would be strongest if this day fell on a Friday). It would also be a great day for some more mundane things like a beauty day! Schedule yourself a facial, mani-pedi, or hair cut. Do a home facial, dye your hair, or paint your toes.
The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli

Minerva is the Roman and Etruscan goddess of wisdom, arts, trade, and defense.

It's back to school time and who better to ask for assistance than Minerva! This would be a great day to dedicate a small shrine on your desk or somewhere in your work space. She is often represented with an owl so placing a small owl figure would be appropriate. A similar shrine could be done for a business (as goddess of trade) or for a theater, dance studio, art studio or gallery (goddess of arts). You may also wish to invoke her for protection (goddess of defense).

Minerva in Onyx, The Louvre

The Barley Moon

Full Moon: August 20th 8:45 pm EST



The full moon in August is called the Barley  Moon. While the name is self-explanatory, the August moon is so named do to the fact that it is the time of the grain harvests (in the norther hemisphere).

During the harvest time (August 1 - October 31) it is always good give thanks for all that you have been given. It is also an excellent time to reap what we have sown. Revisit old spells or rituals that have been sitting around. Have they served their purpose? Are you reaping their benefits or is it time to move on?

During this time I go through more personal things as well such as belongings, expenses, and relationships. Are they helping with growth or are they stagnating? Do they need some tending or have they served their purpose?

While it may seem harsh to think about relationships like a plant, in the long run it really is a great way to think about them. There is a cooperative relationship with plants, we give them food, water, and protection and they give us sustenance for the body and soul.

Think of a relationship this way: Is it mutually beneficial or is one party demanding/giving more attention? What about that friend who expects you to drop everything when they call but is "too busy" to help you with the smallest thing? While you may think nothing of it this relationship is toxic and is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining.

So go through your life, your closets, and your cupboards. Scale back the time and energy you spend on friends who are not helping you grow or that you may be stunting. Donate clothing that doesn't fit or you don't wear. Throw out your expired foodstuffs and donate those unused cans of food to a food shelf.


Friday, August 16, 2013

August 17th: Feast Day of Diana

Feast days are days that are special to a specific deity or deities. If you are looking to work with a specific deity or ask favors these are the best days to do them. Most deities have multiple feast days so if you miss one don't worry, there will be another.

Diana is a Goddess from the Roman pantheon. Often called the Virgin Huntress, she rules over the hunt, the moon, and birthing. She is associated with wild places and animals.

As the Goddess of birthing, woman nearing their birthing time may wish to ask Diana for her assistance. Hunters may wish to ask her to bless their hunting gear, remember that Diana's hunt is not just for sport but for survival.  Those who live in our urban wilderness may wish to ask Diana to remind them of the ancient wilds. On the other hand, those of us who live in the wilds may wish to ask for protection from Diana.

Diana of the Tower, Augustus St. Gaudens

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome!

Over the years I have shared my knowledge off and on with one student or another. It was never a regular thing, a few months here and there. I've always felt that it was something I should do. That feeling that you've forgotten to do something.

Living in an extremely rural area means it's difficult to find students or for students to find me. So in order to reach a larger group I have started this blog. 

I will be posting twice weekly on Practical Tuesdays and Magical Thursdays. Yeah, I could have picked days with better alliteration but I'm a single Mom, I work full time, and I'm a student so this has to fit around everything else. 

Sue